Crohn's Disease Forum » Tests for IBD » High white blood cells, low protein?

09-20-2013, 07:50 AM   #1
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MissCadenza's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Feltham, United Kingdom
High white blood cells, low protein?

Hi guys,

I'm currently on the third of my blood tests that you need when you start on Imuran (had it this morning and blacked out while the needle was in my arm, yay me) but the results from the first two have had me a little confused as according to my doctor they are 'something to keep an eye on' but she's not overly worried.

The first blood test brought back that I had ridiculous high white blood cell count - now, this could be because I'm still on corticosteroids, but also because I had a virus at the time the blood was taken. Still, it worried me a bit but the doctor, after discussing it with me, decided that there was nothing that needed to be done but said we had to monitor it as Imuran should be bringing my white blood cells DOWN. I reckon it was the steroids but I'm not a doctor so have no idea.

The second blood test brought back that I had low protein levels in my blood and I got a letter from the surgery saying that I needed to phone the doctor but it wasn't urgent, again, but going in today for the third blood test I discovered about the protein levels (haven't spoken to the doctor yet) and, idiot that I am, I asked Google what this could mean.

Now, according to Dr Wikipedia, whose diagnosis I take with a pinch of salt but can be useful for basic information, low protein levels can indicate any number of things. But the three that stuck out for me were potential liver problems, kidney problems and malabsorption of nutrients. And I know that Imuran can do weird stuff to your liver and kidneys so... yeah.

Has anyone else had their blood tests come back with similar things and should I be worried? I guess we'll wait and see what number three test brings back but I'm hoping these results aren't the start of something sinister as I am getting on so well with Imuran I don't want to switch to another drug!


Cadenza ~
'You have to like the present. If not, your life becomes second-hand, if you think it was better before. Or that it will be better in the future.' - Karl Lagerfeld
09-20-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
Senior Member
Patricia56's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California, USA
With lab results it's best to think of them as a snapshot in time and to remember that they are subject both to human error and mathematical error since much of the process of producing a CBC is now automated.

Unless the test value is well outside the normal range (this varies from lab to lab so you need to know the normal range for the lab that you used) it could be within the margin of error for the test.

Usually you want to look for patterns over time, again unless the value is extremely high or low. If you white count is still high after several weeks then I would expect the doctor to do further testing to make sure the AZA isn't affecting your bone marrow.

The low protein would be most concerning if it were very low and accompanied by additional lab abnormalities like low albumin for example or elevated liver enzymes. If you have something seriously wrong with an organ it's unlikely that just one test is going to have an abnormal value.

Depending on the results of this 3rd round of labs my guess is that your doctor may decide to check further, especially if the WBC continues to be high.

I hope all of this resolves and you get feeling better soon.
Badger, 18, CD, overall great guy
Dxd age 10, 2006 after nearly 1 year of active sx
Current CD meds: Remicade, Methotrexate and Omeprazole, Vit. D, Calcium, Folic Acid, Probiotic

Nothing I say here should be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor. These are just my opinions.
09-24-2014, 03:16 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Wyoming
White blood cells, often called leukocytes (pronounced LUKE-oh-sites), are part of the body's immune system. They defend the body against viruses, bacteria, and other invading microorganisms. There are five kinds of white blood cells in human blood: neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes. Each plays a specific role in the body's immune or defense system. For example, during long-term infections such as tuberculosis (infectious disease of the lungs), monocytes increase in number. During asthma and allergy attacks, eosinophils increase in number.

Lymphocytes make up roughly one-fourth of all white blood cells in the body. They are divided into two classes: T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. The letter T refers to the thymus, an organ located in the upper chest region where these cells mature. The letter B refers to the bone marrow where these specific lymphocytes mature. T lymphocytes are further divided into four types. Of these four, helper T lymphocytes are the most important. They direct or manage the body's immune response, not only at the site of infection but throughout the body. HIV, the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS, attacks and kills helper T lymphocytes. The disease cripples the immune system, leaving the body helpless to stave off infections. As AIDS progresses, the number of helper T lymphocytes drops from a normal 1,000 to 0.

All white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. Some types are carried in the blood, while others travel to different body tissues. There are about 4,000 to 11,000 white blood cells per cubic millimeter of blood in the human body. This number can greatly increase when the body is fighting off infection.

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